Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cactus Jelly

I checked the internet for a recipe for Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly and found a number of them to choose from. They all had the same basic ingredients; juice, lemon juice, pectin, and sugar. After looking at the recipe I chose and at my ingredients, I made a few alterations. I didn't have enough lemon juice so I added a half a cup of lime juice to the cup of lemon. It's in the same family so I figured it ought to work. A...nd I had ten cups not nine of the juice. I wasn't about to waste a cup so I added it too.

Then there was the sugar. Thirteen and a half cups seemed like over kill for three batches of jelly so I cut it by one and a half cups, a half a cup less a batch. I did use three pink boxes of pectin like they called for and made the three batches all together in a big pot. So that means I used less sugar, more juice, and substituted for part of the lemon juice - lime juice. Just a simple alteration of the original recipe and when I made the jelly I did all three batches at once though that isn't what is recommended.

I did followed the process instructions from the pectin box while ignoring the warning that if I didn't follow the recipe to the T it wouldn't turn out. I've heard that one before but it hasn't stopped me yet.

For I figure what is the worse that can happen if it doesn't gel, become syrup? Oh no, pancake syrup instead of jelly. Not a big deal as part of the batch will probably end up on pancakes or waffles anyway. If it is jelly then for waffles I'll add a little water to it and heat it up on the stove so it pours better.

No worries though because when I came back from town a few hours later, my jelly was set up beautifully. Not stiff and dry like the stores but juicy and gelled like we like it.

The Internet's recipe said the jelly would set in a couple of days - if not reboil it. Maybe they had better borrow my recipe instead of using their own.

The rendered juice looked like chokecherry juice but with the addition of sugar it changed to a burgundy wine red unless you shine light through it for a photograph like I did. The flavor has a hint of Chokecherry with a unique wild flavor all its own. The best thing about this gift from Texas is it can be shared with my friends and family.

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